Some people who build Amazon’s Astro home robot are not impressed, according to a report by Sin. One person working on the robot, announced today, reportedly called it a “disaster not yet ready for release”, while another said it was “terrible” and the idea that it would be a useful accessibility device ( part of Amazon’s pitch is that Astro can help with elderly care) was “absurdist nonsense”. The sources also mentioned that the bot doesn’t handle stairs well, with one even saying it would “throw itself down” if given the chance.
To make matters worse, Sin also reports that the robot is vulnerable and that several devices were broken. That’s not good news for a $1,000 (or $1,449) robot that lives on the ground, where it can easily be stepped on by children, kicked by unwary adults, or attacked by pets that aren’t happy with its presence.
Leaked developer meeting documents and videos obtained by: Sin also show that Astro has a lot of oversight with its facial recognition systems and the feature it uses to track people when it doesn’t recognize them. Sin‘s sources say it’s not good to find out who people are, which could lead to Astro annoyingly chasing people who should know it. One of the people who worked on it called the data collection “a privacy nightmare.”
It’s not necessarily surprising, though, that Astro is always watching – it comes with a Ring Protect Pro subscription, and Amazon’s own marketing for the robot shows it can be used as a security device (but in the context of wildlife entering your home). instead of people). The most surprising thing is that we see and hear leaked documents and videos from unwilling developers on the the same day the device was announced. Someone, or several people, within Amazon should not get carried away by the charms of the robot.
The leak also somewhat recontextualizes Amazon’s invitation-based rollout. You can’t currently just buy the robot, you have to request an invite, a process that involves filling out a survey to indicate if your home is suitable for Astro (including a question about which style staircase you have). It’s possible that Amazon is trying to put these bots in the best-case scenario, to see if they can even survive that.